Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Freaky Guyday

Every year, Americans put on their scariest costumes and celebrate a little past time known as Halloween. What was once a pagan ritual had somehow turned into a commercial fiasco thanks to candy companies and pumpkin farmers everywhere. Trick or treating, horror fests, bobbing for's a tradition that South Africans never seemed to get the gist of and even though we try to accommodate the occasional party, it always turns out to be the same non-event every year. Is it because we know that the only trick or treating that takes place in this country happens on the corners of Koeberg and Main Roads or is it because we know that the real freaks don't need a mask to scare the living shit out of us? 

As I contemplated whether or not to celebrate Halloween this year, I got to thinking about All Hallows Eve and its inextricable link to dating. Just like trick or treating we go from door to door wearing elaborate costumes in search of life's ultimate treat...casual, discreet sex. Some of us are far more blatant in our approach while others tend to be more subtle, safeguarding their inner freak behind comfortable conversation and mutual interests. Try as we might, we can never predict the outcome until the very end of a date, when all disguises are off and the contents of our candy pot are sprawled across a strangers bed. Trick or treat?

Margot, who was no stranger to casual sex, had decided to make a cameo appearance at Chez Don'gelle this weekend. After a boozy lunch we decided to re-live the nineties by watching some classic horror movies. It was somewhere between The Craft and I Know What You Did Last Summer that Margot decided to share some real life horror stories of her own. Warning: The following story is based on real life events and is not suitable for sensitive viewers.

It was a dark and stormy night when Margot met a mysterious stranger at a destination known to many as The Shack. There was an instant sexual attraction fueled by copious amounts of Hunter's Dry and double brandy and cokes. The mating ritual had begun and it wasn't long before Margot looked deep into his brooding eyes and asked the age old question: your place or mine? Fortunately for Margot, Mr Tall, Dark and Lovely lived nearby and so they set off into the early hours of the morning to get their freak on.

Nothing could have prepared Margot for the events that followed. He opened the door into his studio apartment and as she stepped in she almost immediately jumped back at the sight before her. Hundreds of beaded little eyes staring back at her from every direction. It turns out that her handsome stranger was actually an avid collector of dolls; freaky motherfucking Chucky-looking dolls! And they were everywhere! On the futon, the shelves, his couch. What's worse is that he also turned out to be a talker and not in a good way. "Oh yeah! You like it when daddy does that, don't you? You're daddy's little dirty girl. You want a little cream in your coffee?" Is this what happens when date night turns into fright night?

Margot continued with her stories providing hours of entertainment not to mention days of laughter. She had somehow managed to survive The Collector, The Sweet Transvestite, The Coprophiliac (a.k.a Number 2 - that shit is just wrong), The Guy Who Stole Her Shoes as well as The Naked Man. Did all men have some kind of sexual deviance, a Pandora's box of creepy neuroses and unsavoury fetishes? Were all men freaks?

"Oh no my friend," Margot added, "There are some freaky bitches out there as well." Margot proceeded to tell me about her friend Stan who had notoriously earned the nickname "one night Stan" for obvious reasons. Stan had just scored a super hot babe, a quiet night for someone with his sexual appetite. Mystique managed to lure a very horny Stan back to her place for some "coffee". She stripped him down before strapping him tightly to her queen-sized bed. Stan had hit the jackpot of kinky, loose women and was ready for sexy time...that is until Mystique did a ninja and took off with his watch, his wallet and his cellphone never to be seen or heard from again. Stan was discovered by the real tenant one day later, naked, hungover and mortified. 

Who the hell needs Halloween when dating can be just as scary? If you want to see a real freak show look no further than the mother city. The streets are full of them all cleverly disguised in white collared shirts and neutral cashmere sweaters. You don't even have to wait for October 31st anymore. Perhaps the real horror is being single for the rest of your life. Perhaps that's why we find ourselves in these frightening situations. If we don't open ourselves up to spontaneous experiences from time to time, how on earth are we supposed to find sanity amongst the circus show of freaks?

In dating, I couldn't help but wonder, do we need to suffer through all those nasty tricks before we can enjoy the tasty treats?

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

When we were young

Remember those heavenly care-free days of fun when "stress" was just a word and not a way of life? When SARS was just another outbreak designed to keep us away from the local post office and obligations were few and far between? There was no such thing as tomorrows or responsibilities, hash tags or broken hearts. The sky was as blue as we wanted it to be and fun was the only agenda that mattered. Not a single care or worry in the world...just pure unadulterated child-like bliss. 

At some point in our lives, most of us stop playing and give in to the demands of day-to-day living. The idea of possibility becomes immature and obsolete, gradually exchanged for something more substantial and finite. We cash in our hopes and dreams for rent-controlled apartments and promising life policies; funeral plans and platinum medical aid packages. Instead of letting our hair down, we're too busy pulling it out working ourselves to a slow and painful death over some promotion we didn't want in the first place. We succumb to counting calories and stick to unimaginative regimens that allow no room for spontaneity. The energy that could once light a fire was now reserved for that precious hour on the elliptical - if and when it became available. "I can" becomes "I just can't" and before you know it you barely recognise that grumpy old cow glaring back at you in the mirror. 

The stress of life had finally gotten the better of Diana Di Lorentis. She had once dreamed of being a professional dancer and wanted nothing more than to entertain the masses through freedom of movement. She was optimistic and hopeful until one day, some evil blonde bitch in cerulean lycra told her that she simply wasn't good enough. Although Diana had always been praised for her talents by so many others, it took only one comment for her to stop believing in herself. Her dancing went from passion to hobby and she now spends her days working twelve hour shifts as an inbound tour operator for some of the world's most  ungrateful assholes. She gradually transformed into a shell of her former self until one day the light seemed to have disappeared completely.

It was Brenda's 30th birthday weekend and Diana was feeling particularly bitter about her own life. She had had a week from hell which included a serious bout of depression as well as a strain of stress-related skin disease that took weeks to cure. She refused to drink or take part in any of the festivities and seemed almost determined to spoil the party with one of her trademark wheel-spin mood swings. In a matter of sixty seconds, she had gone from the wonderful girl we all knew and loved to the miserable bitch she had allowed herself to become. Was she offended by the lack of maturity in the room or had she simply resented the fact that everyone else was having fun? Either her bun was on too tight or she had simply forgotten how to let go and enjoy herself.

The next morning, Diana decided to bury herself in work in order to take her mind off the things that people were saying about her. She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror and suddenly realised what a buzzkill she had been. She'd had enough. She immediately slammed her laptop shut and decided that it was time to join the party. She bought gumboots and splashed around in the mud and even peed in a bush before indulging in a massive plate of delicious carbohydrates. It only took four swigs of Sauvignon Blanc for Diana to let her hair down on the dance floor....literally. Locks of gorgeous curly brown hair whipping back and forth until two in the morning. If you could freeze-frame that moment, you would see Diana's spirit. Not a care in the world...just Dee, the beat and the dance.

They say that growing old is mandatory and that growing up is optional. The way I see it, life has a way of lobotomising even the most precious soul and if we are not careful, we may grow up a little too fast a little too soon. The pace of daily living and the stress that comes with it makes it so easy for us to lose ourselves that we forget to take a moment and appreciate the simple things in life. Play, laugh, dance, love. You only live once so you may as well spend it doing the things that keep you young and happy. 

When it comes to life in general, do we stop playing because we grow too old or do we grow old because we stop playing?

Thursday, 11 October 2012

The Big "C"...

Getting over someone you thought you had a connection with is one of life's greatest challenges. Just when you think you've found that special someone worth committing the rest of your life to, the same careless cunt goes ahead and breaks your heart. No matter what the circumstance, the consequences are usually the same...catastrophic, especially when the asshole in question doesn't even have the courtesy to clarify the confusion he left behind. It can take months and even years to restore the damage caused by heartbreak and while most of us eventually find a way of moving on, it all boils down to one question...can we let go without the comfort of closure? 

Why oh why do we keep asking ourselves the one question that we know we'll never get a straight answer to? Instead we choose to complicate our lives by chasing after some kind of reason as to why things didn't work out. Is it so impossible to just accept things the way they are? Do we secretly enjoy the attention that comes with wallowing in our own self-pity? Far worse can happen to a person so why do we convince ourselves that closure is the only way forward? Is it because our confidence in love from that day on is constantly questioned or is it because we have not successfully managed to get past the hurt, the denial and the anger?    

A long time ago I was obsessed with my ex. He had some kind of power over me that to this day I still cannot explain. Perhaps it was just an infatuation but for nearly seven years I was stuck wondering why things never worked out between us. It hindered many chances of moving onto new relationships. Instead of embracing the many wonderful men in between, I found myself asking questions like why was I not good enough for him and why was he seeing other people? Was there still a chance of winning him back? The amount of noise circling my head was like cancer slowly attacking my body. There were many occasions where I thought I had finally made a full recovery, telling myself that I no longer cared but every time I caught a glimpse of him, I would relapse. Of all the pubs in all the world, he had to go and walk into mine.

The last time I saw BIG was earlier this year at a family function. As I saw him staring at me from across the room I anticipated the flurry of questions that I had grown so accustomed to but this time, nothing. For the first time I was at peace with the situation and saw it for what it extremely compatible guy unwilling to commit to someone as fabulous as me. Amidst the why, the who and the how, I managed to draw my own conclusion without any assistance required. Any question that I had ever had about him or our failed relationship had been silenced all because the "why" no longer seemed relevant.

Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. These are the five crucial stages that one has to go through in order to overcome the pain of losing a loved one. Why and how did this happen to me; sleepless nights; the sudden urge to punch happy people in the face. It's all part of the process that comes with dealing with an unexpected break up. As soul destroying as the initial steps may be, it is imperative to go through all the motions. What no one tells you is that there is a very bright light at the end of this very dark tunnel, a certain catharsis that can only come when we truly learn to let go of the question "why".

When it comes to matters of the heart, why is why so fucking important?

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

A Hollywood Ending

There's something truly captivating about the reigning queens of romance. Julia, Sandra, Meg and Renee. Not only are they Hollywood's most beautiful, celebrated and highest-paid talents, but their on-screen performances have the uncanny ability to make us believe in fairytale endings and true love. And they do it so convincingly with their trademark "love is eternal" face combined with over-the-top one-liners that probably took seventeen scriptwriters to write. "I'm just a girl standing in front of a boy, asking him to love her"; "I would rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special;" and my personal favourite "you had me at hello." I don't know how they do it but at the end of the day, these leading ladies always seem to get their guy. 

The leading lady in a romantic comedy was designed to give us hope. We relate to her and the situations that she finds herself in. How many times have you found yourself saying "Oh my gawd! That is like, so totally me right now!!!"  It takes a special kind of actress to successfully convey the emotions and ideals of true love from the silver screen and into our hearts. Together with the help of directors, dialogue and cinematic conventions such as Kenny G montage sequences, Hollywood starlets have managed to perpetuate the idea that knights in shining armour do exist both on and off screen.

"So where the hell is he then?" Sharna, a successful sales executive at a leading hotel chain was fed up with all the relationship drama and none of the cine-magic. She was about to turn thirty-five and was way beyond ready to settle down with that special someone. You know, the guy destined to "complete" her. She resented the romantic comedy for putting these false ideas and unrealistic expectations into our heads. "Have you ever heard a fucking violin play whenever you kiss someone? I mean seriously?" She was convinced that Prince Charming was just another myth created by Hollywood executives in order to keep single women single and make them feel better about their sad and lonely existence. "I'm single and probably always will be! I've resigned to the fact that Mr. Right has either fallen off his horse, gotten lost or found a younger, needier damsel in distress."

Was Sharna right? Are some of us just natural born spinsters? It's not that hard to believe considering that the odds are never in our favour. We are after all living in a city of where women outnumber men eight to one. Did Hollywood endings only exist on the pages of poorly written scripts and predictable plot-lines of heart tugging fiction?

Just as I was about to give in to this depressing conclusion, I met a wonderful woman by the name of Debbie. Debbie was fifty years young and had been single for most of her adult life. She had never been married and was the proud mother of two beautiful Great Danes. She lived life as if there was no tomorrow, drank wine constantly and ate chocolate every other day. She had only recently started dating the man of her dreams, a Puerto Rican man who had been her neighbour for nearly twenty-five years. After all that time being happily single, love was staring at her right across the fence. No soft lighting, no orchestra. Just two consenting adults learning to love each other for the first time.   

Life is not a movie. It's a continuous blockbuster with a number of twists and turns that usually happen when you least expect it. The girl next door always gets the guy at the end of the movie and sometimes it takes a little longer to find the perfect leading man. Instead of sitting around blaming romantic comedies for our own shortcomings, see them for what they really are. We cannot rely on movies to dictate an idealistic future especially since Ms. Roberts is only an actress standing in front of camera pushing for an Oscar.

When it comes to finding true love, does it take more than fifty first dates to find our very own happy ending?